Many people usually mistake bun sung (noodles cooked with water lily) of the coastal city of Vung Tau with noodle dishes found in the Mekong Delta provinces of Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and Ca Mau.
Bun sung combines flavors of the three cultures of Khmer, Chinese and Vietnamese people with its unique soup cooked from fish, shrimp, squid accompanied with water lily.
Vung Tau is a port city featuring boats from many regions and maybe explains why sailors have helped bring many specialties of their hometowns to the locality. It can also explain why the noodles there have a similar taste with the Mekong Delta cooking style.
To have the perfect bun sung dish, you require fresh noodles, soup and water lilies which are cooked and stirred with chilli and spices.
If you want a different variety of Vung Tau noodle soup you can add mam ca (fish paste made from sac, linh, keo or loc fish) and lemongrass and chili. The paste will be prepared carefully before you put into the soup to guarantee its purity.
Then you season salt, sugar, dehydrated broth, tamarind juice and chilli to have the perfect soup. Water lilies will be uncovered and cut into small parts while noodles should be small. Vegetables to use are ngo (coriander), dill, morning glory, water lily and banana flower. Some spices needed with the dish are chilli, fermented garlic, fish sauce with lemon and muoi ot (a combination of peppers and salt). Diners will be served a bow of noodles in various colors with water lilies (purple), fish and squid (white) and shrimp (orange), (green) onions and fried onions (deep yellow) and of course the delicious smell of sweet soup.
Vung Tau is located about 125km from HCMC. Tourists who make a weekend trip to the area should not miss out on bun sung.